The Disappearance of Seth (Paperback)
Etruscan Press, 9780979745089, 224pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2009
"In this lyrical novel, Kazim Ali holds a vast register of human experience in his embrace: fragmentation and connection, braveness and secrecy, the present and the past that lies in ashes. Although recent history is the backdrop, the book's heart lies in the human landscape of his characters, their sorrows and their navigation of each other." -Courtney Brkic
"By turns poetic, elliptical and strikingly cinematic, this exquisitely written novel illuminates the strange tightrope we are all walking in the radically altered landscape of post-9/11... This is a novel of both deep intimacy and worldly sweep, heartfelt, wise, and studded with a sharp, wicked wit. Kazim Ali is a remarkable writer." -Dan Chaon
The Disappearance of Seth tells the interlocking stories of five New Yorkers, stumbling through their lives in the aftermath of the events of September 11 and connected by the paths of two figures--Seth, an alienated young man struggling to come to terms with his own penchant for violence, and Layla, an Iraqi artist who fled the violence of the first Gulf War and made a new home for herself in New York City. Written by an American Muslim, The Disappearance of Seth features characters both Muslim and non-Muslim, American and non-American in an arresting portrait of life in America at the beginning of the millennium. A lyrical, hypnotic narrative reminiscent of Sherman Alexie or Junot Diaz, it attempts to historicize the political events of recent years with the personal struggles of its protagonists.
Kazim Ali is the author of two poetry collections and the novel Quinn's Passage. He teaches at Oberlin College and the Stonecoast MFA program and is a founding editor of Nightboat Books.